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Fatigue Failure Analysis in AISI 304 Stainless Wind Turbine Shafts

Authors: M. F. V. Montezuma, E. P. Deus, M. C. Carvalho


Wind turbines are equipment of great importance for generating clean energy in countries and regions with abundant winds. However, complex loadings fluctuations to which they are subject can cause premature failure of these equipment due to the material fatigue process. This work evaluates fatigue failures in small AISI 304 stainless steel turbine shafts. Fractographic analysis techniques, chemical analyzes using energy dispersive spectrometry (EDS), and hardness tests were used to verify the origin of the failures, characterize the properties of the components and the material. The nucleation of cracks on the shafts' surface was observed due to a combined effect of variable stresses, geometric stress concentrating details, and surface wear, leading to the crack's propagation until the catastrophic failure. Beach marks were identified in the macrographic examination, characterizing the probable failure due to fatigue. The sensitization phenomenon was also observed.

Keywords: Fatigue, sensitization phenomenon, stainless steel shafts, wind turbine failure.

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